How ARP 4754A Can Help Us Reopen Safely

Stressful. Unprecedented. Downright annoying.  

Countless, occasionally more colorful words have been used to describe the (as of this article’s publication) ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, though likely everyone would agree that this global crisis has been, in a word, “disruptive.” After ~6 months of disruption, people are just now going back to their places of business, education and recreation, and hopefully starting the return to an “old normal.” For organizations and institutions around the world, a meticulously detailed and well-crafted plan that helps everyone get “back to work” safely is the mission critical asset of reopening and returning to pre-Covid time. That’s where ARP 4754A can help us all.   

For companies and organizations to successfully reopen, they have to understand and prepare for challenges, develop processes that address concerns, define their metrics and goals, monitor status of the implemented practices, and analyze the results of their practices to ensure safe, happy, healthy and productive occupants. Not only are those the steps that make up the ARP 4754A guidelines for civil aircraft and their systems, but no other standard emphasizes the importance of safety assessments throughout the design and development phases. That’s why it’s the perfect go-to for a safe plan. 

A guideline described as covering, “the complete aircraft development cycle, from systems requirements through systems verification,” ARP 4754A focuses heavily on detailed planning and systems development, primarily to ensure the safety of aircraft, and most importantly, their occupants. As such, the steps involved in ARP 4754A are remarkably aligned to the needs of a strong reopening policy. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key concepts in the SAE guideline and how each of those stages translates to the ideal reopening plan:  

1. Plan your aircraft and system’s entire development environment. 

Start with a summary and definition of your workflow and the environment involved in designing your aircraft’s system, including the architecture and integration involved, and how you’ll work through each stage of the development.  

Reopening Translation: Understanding the needs and conditions of your “environment,” or rather, “place of business,” is a crucial first step to reopening. When you organize your strategy based on your specific needs, you’ll be most prepared to address concerns and develop the rest of the steps in your program.   

2. Define and institute best safety practices.  

Per ARP4761/A, understand and implement safety standards and define the scope of those criteria involved in your aircraft and/or systems.  

Reopening Translation: As mentioned, the purpose of using ARP 4754A is to prepare aircraft and their systems for safety and air-worthiness certification. Understanding, communicating and implementing all recommended safety protocols at your organization will help you and your teams get back into the swing of things.  

3. Establish all system, architecture and quality assurance requirements  

Define all prerequisites and conditions for your aircraft and/or system, the methodology you’ll use to implement them, and the ways you’ll validate their successes or failures.  

Reopening Translation: Layout phases or your reopening plan, and make sure to note how you’ll measure its progress. Clearly defined coverage for safety assessments and adherence to those checks is a crucial part of the reopening process.  

4. Conduct QA and audits to demonstrate conformance and ability to adapt to applicable changes  

Assess adherence to all established engineering and building activities, and ensure processes and reviews are followed accordingly. 

Reopening Translation: Measure, measure, measure. Understanding what is and isn’t working in your plan is the key to its success, and though it should go without saying, following your plan is the only to know if its processes and policies were implemented correctly.  

The pandemic has forced everyone to find new ways to conduct their routines, both business and personal. As we return to work and school in a time transformed by a global pandemic, all of us, especially leaders of organizations, businesses and schools, should be looking at the best ways to ensure safety, wellness and productivity. With all it concerns and demands of the planning and development process, ARP 4754A is the precedent upon which the future of our return to normalcy, and its productivity and safety, could easily be based, and leaders everywhere should now be considering how impactful the tools of ARP 4754A would be to reopening. If you’re wondering how to develop a plan that focuses on safety processes, consider ARP 4754A training today

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